Anna Karenina vs. Google Glass: A Conversation with Azar Nafisi

Azar Nafisi, the celebrated Iranian author of “Reading Lolita in Tehran” talks to Michael Skafidas for The WorldPost about literature, the Internet and the West’s false expectations of President Rouhani.

Azar_NafisiWORLDPOST: Your best seller, “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” exposed the harsh realities of theocratic Iran to millions of readers in the West. It is a reminder of the importance of understanding the lives of others through literature. You have also spoken about the “republic of the imagination” as a magical space, where literature attains power to affect lives not only in terms of entertainment but also politically. Is this still a realistic notion in the electronic era?

AZAR NAFISI: Of course. Actually, my new book — which will be published in September — is called “The Republic of Imagination,” and it covers to a great extent this topic.

Literature as opposed to politics is very complex; it brings into play a lot of factors that everyday politics or policymaking try to get away from. When you read a book, you do it not to affirm your prejudices or what you already know; you are going to a book in order to discover. It is like Alice running after the white rabbit. She gets excited about things that she doesn’t know.

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